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Oktoberfest in Hong Kong and Macau
Speed drinking, lederhosen-clad bands, limited edition beers: It's the best of Germany this side of the Danube
It's not like we’ve ever needed much excuse to head out for a pint or two after work, but if you find yourself in need of a reason, then the world-renowned beer festival that is the Oktoberfest is a pretty darn good one.
First held in Hong Kong in 1991, we’re now into our 20th year of celebrating all things Teutonic.
Usually, tight leather shorts, fermented cabbage and tuba-based folk bands are met with a raised eyebrow and a wide berth among hip and trendy Hong Kongers. But come the Oktoberfest, the humble sauerkraut becomes sultan and the lederhosen is lord as we embrace these very cornerstones of the festivities wholeheartedly.
And so can you, at some of the finest Germanic party points in Hong Kong:
Oktoberfest at Happy Valley Racecourse
It’s a little-known fact that the original Oktoberfest held 201 years ago in Germany has its roots in the equine, with a grand royal horseracing event to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig. This makes the Jockey Club's Oktoberfest party at Happy Valley an appropriate rendition of a modern-day Oktoberfest.
With the Jockey Club’s German-born executive chef Bruno Burg overseeing a selection of authentic German chow and Munich brews on tap you’ll be sure to have a good time.
And even if that sure thing you gambled on turned out to be a bit of a donkey, you can show everyone what true swiftness really is by participating in the Speed Drinking Contest to become Beer King or Queen.
Winners walk away with HK$2,000, and a bad hangover in the morning.
October 26.Happy Valley Racecourse.HK$10 entry to public enclosure, 5.15 p.m.-11 p.m.
Now into its third year in Hong Kong, it’s an extra special Oktoberfest for the famous wheat beer from Erding, Germany as it is their 125th birthday.
So it’d be rude not to raise a glass at Hong Kong Island’s biggest celebration. Or even four: at their pop-up beer hall, an Erdinger Oktoberfest Bier Pass cost only HK$250 and is good for four full pints on the night.
Amongst the options to wet your whistle are Erdinger Weiss, a golden cloudy beer; Erdinger Dunkel, a dark brown ale; and the intriguing special Oktoberfest Brew only served during this time of year.
Best festival costume wins a year’s supply of beer too, so dress to impress.
October 21-22.Indian Recreation Club, 63 Caroline Hill Road, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay HK$199 (including one drink), $399 (all you can drink). 6 p.m.-11 p.m.. +852 2973 0116,www.ironmongerevents.com
Marco Polo German Bierfest
The granddaddy of them all, the Marco Polo incarnation is the largest, longest-running Oktoberfest in Asia, let alone Hong Kong. The 20th anniversary of this behemoth of beer festivals will be running for a mammoth 23 days, which is even longer than the original version in Munich.
From the German band oomph-pah-pahing to the 6 p.m.-7 p.m. buy-one-get-one-free on beers with your Octopus card to the limited edition Löwenbräu Oktoberfestbier (only 200 pints will be poured each night), this is the Oktoberfest that everyone talks about.
October 21-November 12.Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, 3 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Fri-Sat HK$200, Sunday - Thursday $100 (both inc. one beer). Fri-Sat 6 - 11.30 p.m., Sun-Thu 6 - 11 p.m. +852 2113 3217, www.gbfhk.com
MGM Macau Oktoberfest 2011
The only Oktoberfest in Macau, the MGM Macau is certainly banking on the numbers game to give it the edge when it comes to enticing revellers.
Their larders must be practically bursting at the seams with more than 1,200 kilos of pork knuckle, 200 kilos of sausage, 80 kilos of potato salad and 9,000 liters of beers ready to be served by traditional fräuleins at their Bavarian bash.
It's a boozy nine-day festival featuring the renowned Löwenbräu Oktoberfestbier accompanied by the musical stylings of the Högl Fun band, 15-year veterans of the Munich Oktoberfest.
October 14-22.Vista II, MGM Macau, Avenida Dr. Sun Yat Sen, NAPE, Macau. MOP50. 6 p.m.–midnight; +853 8802 3888, www.mgmmacau.com